I knew it immediately when I saw him.
It was September 13, 1997, and I was in an Irish Pub in Sachsenhausen, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The place was crowded with American soldiers, British wannabe-bankers, and Scandinavian au pairs, a hole-in-a-wall where you oddly felt like home despite the smell of beer. It was where the expats mingled, and you got the feeling you could take a break from German culture and Germans, and from stretching your ability to speak their language and live in their culture and their land.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t met any other American soldiers in the pub yet, but most of them were annoying, self-obsessed, too loud, and I couldn’t have imagined having anything in common with any of them, and I had made a mental note not to even start talking with any of them because they were so difficult to get rid of with their never-ending small talk.
I knew he saw me too, and I felt we had this magnet that was pulling us together, but we just stood there. Too far to talk, surrounded by the loud young international crowd.
“Go and talk to him, I’m sure he is American, go!” my friends were trying to convince me.
I couldn’t. I just knew that he had to come to me, I had to know he felt the magnet too, or otherwise it just wasn’t meant to be. But my life changed on the instant, and I probably even told my friends that he would be the one I’d marry one day, all the details like who he was, where does he come from, all of it was irrelevant, I just felt like my heart knew him.
For two freaking hours I had to wait. My heart did not know how quiet he was, how small talk was not in his repertoire, and that I would just have to figure it all out on my own. My friends were impatient, we had plans to dance the night away in the numbing techno music until the sunrise in one of the numerous Frankfurt hot spots. They said I had until midnight, and after that we’d leave the Irish Pub behind us, and I’d risk never seeing him again.
Clock hit midnight and I felt like Cinderella who just turned back into my miserable self of trying to figure out what to do with my life and how never go back to Finland to the superficial life I didn’t want. I was standing on the bottom of the stairs of the two story pub pleading my friends to wait two more minutes, he’d come. I looked up the stairs as he walked down and I knew it was meant to be.
Until he walked right pass me without saying a word.
That was it. He had the perfect shot, he didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything, we blew it before it had a change to get started.
Want to know if there is more to the story? Come back tomorrow or follow my live tweets @skimbaco and Instagram photos (I’m Skimbaco on Instagram) where this night took me as I’m celebrating the 15 year anniversary of this evening (if Wifi Gods agree with me).